“Phoenix is life changing. It’s true, it’s absolutely true. Phoenix changed my life.
“I first was a high school teacher before becoming a youth worker. During that time I was exposed to working with students that were very similar to our Phoenix youth. As a young teacher, you realize there’s only so much education system can do.
"So, I left my teaching position and applied to the Youth Worker program at Holland College in Charlottetown. My first of two placements was one week-long and it just happened to be with Phoenix. When I got back to the college, I lobbied hard for three straight months to be able to come back to Phoenix. I knew that after spending just a couple days here, it was a special place - no question about it. I told my coordinators “I know you don’t normally send people back to the same location twice but I need to be there”. I think I drove my instructor up the wall until she finally agreed to put me back at Phoenix for my second placement. Phoenix was the fit I had been looking for my whole life.
“I watched Phoenix grow up. When I first came here in 1994, we were much smaller - less than half the size we are now. Opportunities presented themselves over the years for me to potentially leave the organization. But when it came right down to it, I believed in our potential and I am so glad that I stayed.
“This story helps explain why… In my third or fourth year with Phoenix, I took youth on the annual ski trip in my role as supervisor for the Supervision Apartment Program (now known as Phoenix Homes for Independence). I’m not a skier! I’ve tried, I’ve done lessons, I just don’t know how to. But, this was an important trip for the youth so I still went. I was literally a struggling adult on the bunny hill, surrounded by little kids. I kept falling down and getting back up, over and over. Then from above, there was a group of Phoenix youth riding the chairlift looking down and cheering me on: “You can do this! I know you can! I was supposed to be there to support them yet they were there giving back and supporting me. It was a powerful moment. It’s probably one of the most defining moments for me in terms of what Phoenix is really about.
“The youth, they’re incredible… I don’t know how they do it. During such times of difficulty, they stay motivated and don’t give up. That’s inspiring and impressive.
“Phoenix has made me a better person. It has helped give me perspective and made me realize that the privilege I have comes with responsibilities. I feel that my awareness of that privilege has made me a better father, a better partner, a better friend and better person.”
Mike started at Phoenix on his student placement in April, 1994. On July 1 that year, he accepted a full-full time position. Mike has been with us ever since.